[PHOTO - The water level at the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City reaches spilling level on Monday following a night of heavy rains. The dam spills into Tullahan river, which passes thru Fairview in Quezon City, as well tributaries in Malabon, Caloocan and Valenzuela before draining into Manila Bay. Photo by Rem Zamora for]

MANILA, AUGUST 7, 2012 (STANDARD) By Jonathan Fernandez -

Although there was no tropical cyclone in Philippine jurisdiction, a low-pressure area strengthened the southwest monsoon on Monday and pounded the western areas of Luzon and the Visayas, causing the evacuation of more than 5,000 people in Metro Manila, according to civil defense authorities.

The Office of Civil Defense reported that at least 5,148 people in Navotas, Malabon, Valenzuela, Quezon City, Marikina, Manila and Muntinlupa where rushed to evacuation centers after the heavy rain filled Ambuklao, Binga, San Roque and Ipo dams, forcing authorities to release water.

The La Mesa dam in Quezon City also reached spilling level, prompting authorities to issue flashflood warnings to residents in Fairview, Sta. Quiteria and San Bartolome and Quirino Highway in Quezon City; Valenzuela, Malabon and along the North Luzon Expressway near the Tullahan River.

Authorities said 690 people in Navotas were still at evacuation centers at press time; 140 in Malabon; 1,344 in Valenzuela; 1,583 in Quezon City; 1,034 in Marikina; 260 in Manila; 97 in Muntinlupa.

The rain also caused the suspension of classes at all levels and flash floods in low-lying areas in the metropolis.

Executive Director Benito Ramos of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council urged the public to remain vigilant against flashfloods and landslides because of the lingering bad weather that continue to dump heavy rains and continue to claim lives as well due to drowning.

“As of today, we’ve recorded additional fatalities from drowning incidents. So the death toll is already 50,” Ramos said.

Ramos said the Department of Public Works and Highways was closely monitoring the situation of major roads linking the Cordillera Administrative Region.

“There are two sections of the road in Benguet and Mt. Province that were already totally closed to traffic because of rockslides and landslides. There’s another major road section linking the Ilocos region and Mt. Province that was also closed to traffic,” Ramos said.

Based on the NDRRMC’s latest report, most of the recent fatalities were from Ilocos Sur, Palawan, and Southern Leyte provinces.

“(Of the 50 dead), 30 are related to drowning, 11 are due to fallen trees and the others are related to landslide and electrocution,” the report said.

The lingering monsoon affected at least 193,682 families, or 867,799 people in 1,230 villages in 151 towns and 288 cities in 35 provinces. Of these, 2,875 families, or 12,238 people are being served in 78 evacuation centers.

Damage to property was estimated at P339,806,796.20, including P124,475,384 in infrastructure and P214,799,410.20 in agriculture. At least 1,246 houses were destroyed while 6,609 were damaged.

Weathermen said they are presently tracking down the low-pressure area because it may turn into a cyclone, but they cannot say so far if the new weather disturbance will develop into a storm.

Forecaster Ricky Fabregas said distubrance will be named “Helen” if it intensifies into a cyclone. With Rio N. Araja, Florante S. Solmerin and Gigi Muñoz-David


[PHOTO FROM ABS-CBN: More than 200 families seek refuge inside the Bulelak covered court in Marikina which was converted into an evacuation center on Monday.

Continuous rains over the weekend prompted local officials to evacuate residents in low-lying areas. Photo by Rem Zamora for]



[PHOTO FROM MANILA STANDARD- At the monsoon’s trail. Thousands of people are crammed at an evacuation center in Quezon City after authorities released water from five dams in Luzon, including the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City (inset), due to the heavy monsson rain that pounded the western part of Luzon and the Visayas on Monday. Manny Palmero]




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